SUNY Canton is currently a hotbed for athletic talent spawning from Columbia and Greene County.
Beyond Ichabod Crane’s Joe Werner playing basketball for the Kangaroos, the Canton baseball team has three local players, including Catskill’s Derrek DuPont, Germantown’s Collin Lynk and Taconic Hills’ Joe Dwy.
It’s not a common occurrence to have three local athletes playing for the same collegiate team, but the trio relish the opportunity to play together.
“It’s something that doesn’t happen a lot, which makes it a cooler experience,” DuPont said. “One of the big things with these guys is that I played against them in high school, but I also played with them in the summer.”
DuPont, Dwy and Lynk played together on the CD Storm out of Hudson in the Intercollegiate Baseball League. The trio was able to develop a strong bond over the summer that has helped both Dwy and Lynk adjust to being at Canton.
“It’s a lot easier,” Dwy said. “Confidence-wise it helps you get along with the rest of the team, having friends that you know and working in with the rest of the team makes it much easier, and it settles you down a bit where you’re not as jittery.”
DuPont started his career at SUNY Canton and is now in his junior season.
Lynk and Dwy are first-year transfers from Columbia-Greene Community College.
Dwy decided to take his talents to SUNY Canton after a family friend introduced him to the school and showed him around the campus. As for Lynk, he learned about the college through DuPont. The junior outfielder took a visit and liked the campus, atmosphere and the baseball team.
At Columbia-Greene, Lynk finished with a .270 batting average, 38 hits, five doubles, and 21 RBI in 55 games.
Dwy played one season for C-GCC and led the Twins in batting average (.311), hits (28) and doubles (4) in 31 games.
In their six games with SUNY Canton, the duo has noticed a change in the competition, going from the NJCAA-level to Division III.
“I definitely think it’s a little more competitive. I think the main thing that I have noticed is the pitching,” Lynk said. “I’d say there is tougher pitching at this level than the community college level.”
For Dwy, he’s had to make the jump in consecutive years, going from playing in the Patroon Conference, to playing at the NJCAA level and now competing against Division III athletes.
“The competition is much better. Guys are more developed and the baseball knowledge is way more advanced going from high school to community college, all the way to Division III,” he said.
Six games into his first season with the Kangaroos, Dwy has adjusted to the change of competition and is making an immediate impact.
The Taconic Hills graduate has a hit in each game this season and had his best game against Gallaudet University on March 12, going 2-for-4 with with a double, two RBI and his first career collegiate home run.
“There’s nothing like it. It’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” Dwy said of his first homer. “I didn’t think it would go out, but once it did, and I got to home, all of my teammates were there congratulating me and it felt really good.”
On the season, Dwy is batting .381 with eight hits, two doubles and four RBI.
Lynk has had a slower start to his career at Canton, despite putting the ball in play consistently.
“I’m just working on being more aggressive at the plate and I’ve actually been a little bit unlucky,” Lynk said. “I’ve been hitting the ball hard, but I have been hitting it right at people, and now, hopefully, they’re going to start falling and hopefully I’ll keep hitting the ball hard.”
The Germantown graduate also had his best game against Gallaudet University, going 2-for-3 with two RBI.
On the season, Lynk is hitting .200 with four hits and four RBI.
For DuPont, the eldest statesman amongst the trio, he’s had quite the journey so far with the Kangaroos.
In his freshman year, DuPont played in 21 games — 16 starts — and batted .209 with nine hits, one double and four RBI. He also made three appearances on the bump, going 0-3 with a 9.39 ERA.
Unfortunately, his sophomore season was cut short.
“Last year we went to Florida for our spring break trip and I was starting at second base. In the first game I collided into one of the players on the team and I broke my nose, both bones in my wrist and I had a concussion,” DuPont recalled. “It was a pretty significant injury and it was tough coming back from it.”
DuPont lost strength in his wrist due to the injuryg. The junior hurler had to take his time and learn how to throw a ball again.
“I took so much time off, so coming in, throwing light bullpen, eventually working my way up to pitching, it was a lot. It doesn’t seem like it was much, but it was a constant battle every day just trying to get out there, work through it and get back to 100 percent,” DuPont said.
DuPont returned to the diamond over the summer in the Intercollegiate Baseball League and was able to shake off some of the rust.
He tossed 22 innings on the mound, finishing with a 5.72 ERA. At the plate he finished with 66 at-bats, 11 hits and 13 RBI.
This season DuPont has started two games on the bump for the Kangaroos and is glad to be back playing the game he missed last season.
“This season getting back on the mound felt really good and that’s one of the big reasons Collin and Joe Dwy are big benefits to me, because they were two guys who helped me get on the road to recovery and they were right along with me helping me out,” he said.
DuPont’s first start this season against New York University was a rough outing, tossing four innings and allowing six earned runs off six hits. However, he bounced back against Gallaudet University, scattering 12 hits and five runs over 6 1/3 innings. DuPont also finished with six strikeouts.
“That first start was really rough and I think that is to be expected after not pitching for so long, coming back and trying to get it done. We are done here in Florida as a team and getting that first W is really nice. It was really nice getting that first W for me, specifically, because that’s the first win on a college mound that I’ve had for SUNY Canton,” DuPont said.
DuPont hopes to be back to being a two-way player for the Kangaroos in the future, but at the moment the Catskill graduate is focused on getting back to being 100 percent healthy.
DuPont, Dwy and Lynk take the field again today against Susquehanna University in SUNY Canton’s final game in Florida before returning to New York.